Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Brush Pen Review: Zebra Brush Pen FD-302-Soft-Fine

I think (THINK) this brush pen marks the last of the bunch that Jetpens sent awhile back.   I wanted to make sure they were all finished before I started releasing posts for my upcoming series, Affordable Art Supplies, where I peruse Walmart, Target, and the Dollar Tree for decent supplies.  It'll be awhile before the queue loads up more brush pen reviews, but I think I've done a pretty decent job of covering a lot of brushpen options, and I feel like this Zebra FD-302 is a good note to end on.

The Pen

The Zebra FD-302 is much narrower in body than many of the brushpens I've featured here, and is probably meant to be held the way one would hold a brush for traditional calligraphy or sumi painting- with your hand vertical and your grip light.  If you don't hold your brush this way when you ink, the FD-302 may feel a bit thin and difficult to handle.

The cap does not come with a clip, nor does the barrel come with a grip, but you can post the cap to the back of the pen.  There are no notches or barrel protrusions to prevent the pen from rolling off your desk, but I didn't really notice much of a problem while doing this test.

The Zebra Brush Pen FD-302 in Soft and Fine has a fairly large brush for it's size.

From Left to Right:  Kuretake Fudegokochi (Regular), Kuretake No. 33 (recently reviewed!), and the Zebra FD- 302 in Soft-Fine.
As you can see, the FD-302 is between the Fudegokochi and No. 33 in size, about the size of a Pilot Pocket Brush in Soft.  It's a little softer than the Pilot Pocket Brush as well, but not overly soft. 

Zebra Brush Pen FD-302: $4.95
Kuretake Fudegokochi: $2.80
Pilot Pocket Brush Soft: $5.00
Kuretake No. 33: $3.30

From left to right:  Kuretake Fudegokochi, Kuretake No. 3, Zebra FD-302

Unlike the No. 33, the FD-302 Soft-Fine doesn't really have anywhere for your hand to rest, so I tended to choke up on the barrel, which made it even harder to ink with.  You could solve this issue easily, as the FD-302 is about as thick as a pencil, so you could use your favorite pencil grip.

From Left to Right:  Kuretake Fudegokochi, Kuretake No. 3, FD-302

If you find the Kuretake No. 6 and the Kuretake No. 33 are too soft or too large a brush, the FD-302 might be a great solution for larger lines and more variety in lineweight.

The Field Test

The nib is VERY soft, which makes it a little difficult to use, given how narrow the pen's body is.  This can make for very expressive lines, if you can manage the fine motor control.

The Verdict

Some of the reviews on Jetpens aren't very positive, but this brushpen wasn't bad.  If I had a more gestural style, this pen would be pretty great.  As it is, I still really like it, but the size of the barrel makes it difficult for me to hold it unmodified.  I'll have to add one of my favorite pencil grips so I don't have to clench the FD-302 so tightly.